Narrows Community makes a killing with “And There Were None”

Reviewed br Robert Liebowitz

Everyone knows “And Then There Were None”; it is Agatha Christie’s most popular murder mystery (with sales of 100 million and counting); it has run for seemingly ever on the London stage (along with her companion piece “The Mousetrap”), and has been made into several film and television versions. It is so good, so clever, decades ahead of it’s time, it should be shipped off to the Smithsonian and into a time capsule. This is Art (or certainly the murder-mystery genre) at its finest.

When Narrows Community Theater decided to mount a revised production of it, setting it in the ‘Me’ decade of the mid-70s, it seemed to be a particularly innovative tact, garnering approval from the theatre Gods. Director George Ferencz led a competent, tight cast through the two-and-a –half-hour evening, and has emerged triumphantly on the other side despite some design and technical issues, which receive an A for effort.

The plot needs only a bare-bones introduction: A group of people (ten would be a wild guess) are invited to a remote island of the coast of Long Island, and the bodies then start to drop one by one. Whodunnit? No one knows for sure, and that’s the thrill and the attraction.

The able cast is led first and foremost by the talented Dain Alexandra as the gregarious but street-smart Vera Claythorne. Her performance was thrilling to watch and experience, from soup to nuts. Others in the cast who deserve honorable mention would be Al Whidden exuded great stage presence as the Judge, Ted Lewis as the snobby military officer, General MacKenzie, and Larry Gutman as the film-noir style eccentric Dr. Armstrong. But it is Ms. Alexandra’s performance that stands out.

Over the years, NCT has been the flag-bearer in importing professional-caliber talent to breathe life onto its humble Brooklyn stage. And while its supportive audience showed no signs of disapproval, one hopes that more time can be made to creating sets and lighting that can complement the excellent acting. Sadly, in the days of turntables and flying cars, no theatre production, no matter how well the acting is, can be considered complete without it. But regardless, a tip of the hat goes the NCT team, for its sometimes uneven but ultimately satisfying production of “And Then There Were None.”

(Robert Liebowitz is an award-winning playwright with successful runs at The Fringe Festival, LoveCreek, and several off-Broadway houses. He has one anthology of his plays available at The Drama Book Store and another in the works.)

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